Thailand to Tourists: Quit It With the Buddha Tattoos

Thai citizens claim etching images on a non-Buddhist is culturally insensitive
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2011 11:06 AM CDT
Thailand to Tourists: Stop Tattooing Yourselves With Our Religious Leaders
In this March 1, 2011 photo, a Thai man has tattoos inked into his back at Wat Bang Pra in Nakhon Chaisi, Thailand.   (David Longstreath)

(Newser) – Thailand's foreign tourists should be barred from getting Buddhist tattoos while visiting because the practice is culturally insensitive, says the country's culture ministry. Residents have complained that tattoo parlors are etching pictures of Buddha and other religious images onto the skin of non-Buddhist visitors across the country. Thailand is mostly Buddhist, and Buddha statues and images here are considered sacred objects of worship—but "foreigners see these tattoos as a fashion," says the cultural minister.

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"They do not think of respecting religion, or they may not be aware" that it can be offensive. The culture ministry called on tattoo parlors nationwide to halt the activity, and provincial governors were asked to "inspect tattoo studios and seek their cooperation." The minister is also pushing for a law banning the practice, according to local media. (Read more Thailand stories.)

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